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Regina Roma (1982)
A family tale: Over dominated husband and son with no way out to escape
Brilliant actors in a play of three and a mute - simply watching forth person. Ava Gardner is on top, playing with persuasion and great skill the over dominant Italian I think, mother. She uses all tricks and lies to have her husband and son on her hand. She wants to be the only person in their lives, and that turns to be an absolute catastrophe to their day routine. The drama reaches it's pick when she rejects his son's fiancé as improper for him, accusing her that she's a prostitute! All action takes place in the living-room with Anna Karina (fiancé) watching dumbfounded, Anthony Quinn (husband) accusing her all the time, and the son begging her to stay with them - not to abandon them! Really an opportunity for Ava Gardner's big talent in dramatic, theatrical roles. I consider that her beauty apart, Ava Gardner was a great actress - equal to Liz Taylor.
La blonde aux seins nus (2010)
A rude but affectionate story by the banks of la Seine
Though I had another choice for watching a movie, I stayed on that because I found interesting the theme: two brothers on a barge they must pay the debts, crossing la Seine river. They have made a robbery by stealing from Orsay museum the renown Manet painting "Topless girl", in order to pay the debts of the barge which was always, the proper home for them and their family - two by now, as their mother died and their father is ill in the hospital. Now are three, as they have with them the guard of the museum - the beautiful and fearless also sexy, Rosalie who kidnapped her in their boat, as she was running after them. All three are trying to find a buyer for the renown, valuable painting - all these, among beautiful images of the still river waters, full of pending trees, as their barge is crossing them. The two brothers are impressed by the girl and she finally involves herself in an affair with the elder. A nice cinematography showing another life - that of people working by and crossing the river with on that purpose river-ships. Also a mention to the wild life by the sides of the river as it has been painted by Renoir and other impressionists. The Polish mafia following them to get the painting, but also the lonely life of desperate young people who had no affection in their lives. The scenery of both banks of la Seine is fantastic - also the description of the life on board of the barge. The acting of the three protagonists is very persuasive, real and human as well. Their emotions as wild they appear, always turn sweet - first mentioning the younger little brother, as he is a tender, affectionate, fearless companion - caring as well, brother.
Taken 2 (2012)
Realistic but Unreal
Another film on secret agents life. That one comes closer to reality by involving wife and daughter having no affair in the killing of the Albanian mafia - acting in Istanbul son, by the protagonist agent (Liam Neeson). The movie gains the impressions by showing old Istanbul's city, it's tiled roofs, the mosques, it's narrow streets, also the luxurious hotels - the ambiance of the city in general, showing in general very impressive panoramic pictures of the entire city. It looses by showing a very cruel aspect, of Albanian mafia who resides there - saying that is the first time I hear about this. The torture scenes are absolutely awful. Also the plan dictated from mobile to his daughter who is in the hotel room - consisted on drawing on his map in his suitcase, to find the location where his his captured, followed by daughter's escape from the hotel, the throwing of the grenades, her desperate run on the roofs, to avoid her persecutors, in order to find her captured parents, is absolutely complicated as mythical - on the other hand, suspensive and impressive. In general all scenes of that movie, are very well filmed and capture the interest of the spectator. Above all the acting of Liam Neeson makes the difference. With his low voice, his persuasive obstinacy showing to his daughter on his aim to save his wife from his persecutors, his perfect skills of beating his adversaries - as he himself, says to her, that "This is his my job!", makes a good choice of seeing that movie.
Nice but Dull at the total
Though I don't like the theme of the movie as (overused, common), it's given with some new now days present parameters as Internet abuse, parents tolerance on new morals, modern teen-age language and way of life as "modern, sexy, fashion victims". Also because it shows clearly police's priority on chasing pederasty crime in US. Parents are very confident their children's abusing manners of living till the worst happens that could be a rape, a car accident, bad relationships - to mention some of them. The movie is well filmed, actors are playing to their best. The modern girl playing the daughter is beautiful, clever but she becomes a victim of the internet's virtual reality coughing by the spell of a handsome aged to her person who's business is to earn money from teen-age pornography. An instructive movie on modern dangerous teen-agers and parents morals - leaving that apart, on lie, cheat - last but not least, Trust! - witch is and the title of the movie. A good movie that turns to dull old clichés but filmed in the new era of new technologies, manners, way of life in rich, modern environments.
Faubourg 36 (2008)
A nice, faithful, melodic Paris through time, evocation
I voted for 6 because the film was overloaded. Too many characters and subplots - especially those with the French mafia sometimes called "apaches", were somewhat complicated and puzzling - not meaning that some other,especially those with communists and fascists were'not at least somewhat naive and clumsy.
I recommend this film because there is very good music inside - type of waltz, nice decoration of the sets with an exact theater of the 30s Belle Epoque. As for the externals, all the way long we see Paris with all those rainy-wet pavements, an eternal snow, always a heavy rain, it's picturesque attics looking to the sky, it's old buildings terraces viewing the Tour Eiffel and as we approach to the end, some scenes luxurious as they are, evoke Paris rich and fancy apartments at the "quartiers chic" as they are called.
The scenes of the music-hall are according to the typical tradition of French cabaret, enough satisfying as they recall Lido, Follies Bergeres, Moulin Rouge cabarets. The singing also refers to top french singers - Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Trenet.
A very satisfying role and performance, is of Pigoil's - music-hall manager, son - a young boy who plays the accordion in the streets of Paris trying to earn some money with which buys some sausages as a supper offered to his father's lonely drinking - caused by his wife's cruel abandonment for the music-hall tenor.
I think this film to it's whole, was not bad directed, with a nice Parisian atmosphere. It will make you surely spend two relaxing and pleasant hours.
Gran Torino (2008)
A "sotto-vocce", anti - war manifesto
The story is a familiar theme: The veteran of Korea because of all those bad things which took place there during the war, has hardened, generally hates the world and above all prefers the companionship of his dog to drink beers, or exchange "thicker words" with his barber.
That changes when he decides spontaneously to become the defender of his neighbors from a Vietnamese immigrant gang's threatens -though compatriots- mainly aimed at the two young children, one of which by threat, forced by his "so called" cousin to try to steal his car -brand Gran Torino- (one of the'74 Ford) which is kept and maintained by the lonely, war-veteran as a valuable heirloom - as like his star medal from the war).
The known history, a scenario somewhat naive, because some things are not documented (undisturbed gang activity). However, other issues are lightened brightly - as the consequences for those who took part in the Korean War (so followed by Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq), the immediacy of communication - even with a crude way, the main idea for people to protect property ("not press my lawn"), immigrants and their gradual assimilation and acceptance by the Americans, the evaluation of the new generation, the gap in ages, caring for neighbors and several other aspects of society - already known, but clearly pointed as first raw society themes.
But thanks to the amazing playing of Eastwood, his natural,honest and robust direction, there is a film to watch that keeps the interest of the viewer from beginning to end. The end though somewhat excessive as demonstrating Walter falling and end, to the altar of an existential, personal atonement, however, raises the question of the consequences of the war for the person who goes back home, giving through a "poetic license" to this well-achieved film, the nature of a "sotto-vocce", anti - war manifesto.
A nice film but an unachieved goal
Satisfying general historical ambiance, all actor's crew- acting, shooting, photography, but main thing, the historical details were not clearly exposed - thus the foggy and undocumented historical evaluation of some 3rd Reich's officers resistance, against Hitler's murderer regime - clearly set it though, to the last year of Hitler's end... thing to say that is the least surprising from their part.
The direction needed many more elements, we only saw Hitler's house to the Bavarian Alps (wolf's nest), some conspiring offices discussing about shooting Hitler and Valkyrie plan to proceed after, the Army Headquarters, some Ministery buildings -very well shot was that of Press, with all the telexes passing through. As for the military plan so called "Valkyrie" - the main story of film's plot, that scenario was very weak, so called vague and general...
The all atmosphere of the film was very satisfying, but it produced only a taste - a very good indeed! of the really happened so discussed resistance of Hitler's generals - also known from Hitler's own words at his last moments when he was trying to be informed, and be conscious about the inevitable fall, "I was surrounded by traitors".
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Addiction and love in a big world's capital where television and money notions are in first ranges of some people's interests.
Very exaggerated film, but has two hot points: How much bad thing is television - if you sit all day watching shows and drug addiction. Exaggerated situations -according to this story- happen to the heroes (madness etc,) and the point is, that -as for the drugs addiction we don't understand how occurred to the couple of the story, as for the girl, it is enough clear that she suffers from a sort of mental disease- but for the son, it is not clear how he got involved in drugs - the friendship with the other dealer, or money hunting is not enough explained how it becomes a good reason to get into drugs. Mother's madness to the end is the main reason of the exaggeration of the scenario. A point to mention is that from that point it is a good thing to accuse mental institutions and the methods they use to interfere in illness. Also before that atrocious end, it is well explained how bad thing are pills for loosing weight. Despite all that, acting from all four actors is superb, movie's rhythm also.
Jamón Jamón (1992)
Comedy turns to drama
Very interesting the way Bigas Luna joins together many elements: surrealism and realism, Italian new-realism and Almodovar's humorist notion in some situations. Certainly, a typical Spanish film of great inspiration which turns to nothing, because of the exaggerated plot about sexual relations with improper persons... same person for mother - daughter, son! - thus resuming to an idea of very bad notion about morals in Spain - both for wealthy and poor. Although acting was very good, also the photography. I mention the excellent acting of Javier Bardem who keeps all the interest in this film, with his role of a "payed lover" turned to a deeply in love desperado of the type of those who have nothing to loose except their own life... in a relationship which starts as a joke and turns to a drama.